Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No!’ (Matthew 5:37, ESV)
I’m beginning the process of making New Year’s resolutions this week. Perhaps in repentance, from too much turkey last week.
I think that you should too.
Why wait and cram a few resolutions in at the end of the year? If we are going to make a resolution, let’s remember that the intention of changed behavior works best if it comes from thoughtful reflection.
Rumor has it (Wikipedia) that New Year’s resolutions started over 4,000 years ago with the ancient Babylonians. The prophet Daniel lived in Babylon during that time. He made a resolution to pray in front of an open window three times a day
Check out Daniel 6 – his resolution got him thrown into the lions’ den.
Some scholars say that the Jews in the time of Jesus practiced four New Year’s resolutions each year. Jesus, being perfect, didn’t need to make resolutions. From reading the Gospels, we know His disciples needed all four and probably a couple more every year.
I need to make resolutions too. Let me share my plan …
First: Three months!
When we decide to make a change, it takes at least three months for this change to become a habit. If we decide today, we will not feel like continuing tomorrow.
If we endure for three months, then we will wake up in the morning thinking, “I love getting out of bed at 5 a.m. to run five miles in the wind, cold, and snow.”
Second: Make it specific!
Let’s consider something easy, even simple, that we want to do or change.
Don’t say I’m going to lose weight, but think, “I’m going to lose five pounds in three months.” It’s best to make our resolutions a positive statement of faith. Not, “Help me lose five pounds,” but, “I’m going to lose five pounds!”
I need to talk more positively. During the first three months, I resolve to quote Ephesians 4:29 as I get out of bed in the morning …
Let no corrupting talk come from my mouth today, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear me talking (OGV).
Third: Lean on promises!
Sometimes we can succeed without God, but why try to make significant changes without His help?
Our spiritual gifts are given to us in grace. Specific prayers, intended to hone His calling in our lives during the first three months of 2023, will be empowered by God’s Spirit.
A good place to start in determining Biblical (our calling) resolutions is to memorize Philippians 4:7 (peace), then Philippians 4:13 (power), and then Philippians 4:19 (provision). God promises to give us peace, power, and provision for His purposes in our lives
Let’s ask for peace, power, and provision in our tasks. We are children of promise in 2023.
Fourth, Make it accountable!
The determination to keep a vow is most intense in the first three months. After this time, the energy to keep a habit will level off.
Don’t walk alone. Let’s tell others our resolutions and ask for continued prayer. Let’s ask them to call us weekly and, if needed, show up at our house to yell at us!
That’s my four suggestions.
By faith, I say that those who read Interruptions will keep all their New Year’s resolutions in 2023 and become spiritual giants. If I see you at Planet Fitness® in January, I expect to see you in April too!
Have fun! Laugh when you stumble. Our lives are no different than the first disciples who needed multiple attempts for change. It’s okay to begin again and again and again and again.
And again and again and again.
And again and again.